Attracting business to the heart of a city involves many public figures, one of those individuals is Jerry Clifton. While he is known for being “about town” on a daily basis as person who runs for the health benefits, he is also all the downtown. Clifton purchases real-estate with the purpose of improving, beautifying, and attracting more businesses to downtown Fort Payne.

Clifton purchased several properties extending from the northside of First Street wrapping around the corner onto Gault Avenue North. He sold one building, the one that formerly housed Fort Payne Wholesale, and is renting-out the others. Current renters of the buildings he purchased include; The Spot Coffee Shop, Alice Circle, Cotton State Boutique, The Valley Nutrition, Chris Hale Sign Shop, and coming at the end of August Crestah Taylor will be opening a bakery in the same neighborhood called The Bakehouse Downtown.

Work is currently being done on the upstairs over The Spot Coffee Shop where Clifton will be renting out two luxury apartments hopefully before end of year. “The National and State Historical Registries in Montgomery is part of the project, for renovations on the loft apartments, to keep things historical while being updated,” said Clifton. “They said this project has created a ‘buzz’ in Fort Payne, as they have been approached by more developers interested in doing the same thing in our area based on what they saw me doing.”

While Clifton runs every day of the year, at times he takes his passion across the country to places like California and Colorado. “When I’m running in small historical towns across the country I take note of the beauty of the town,” said Clifton. “I bring back with me what makes that town special and how something I saw could be implemented here at home. There is so much history here, so much opportunity that has yet to utilized. A downtown is only as strong as its weakest store.”

Clifton said he wants to see every downtown business as successful as it can be because that benefits all of the downtown businesses. He feels bringing living spaces, entertainment, and family activities is the key to a successful and thriving business district.

The addition of the string lighting across the rooftops on Gault Avenue thrills Clifton. “I give credit to Mayor Brian Baine, Lynn Brewer, Johnny Eberhart and all of the council members who are so helpful in making the downtown what it is becoming,” said Clifton.  

Clifton welcomes business people to contact him about potentially renting one of his properties in downtown Fort Payne. He can be contacted at cliftonj35986@gmail.com.

— Marla Ballard’s Spotlight on Business appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition.

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